Every year I have the same New Year’s Resolution: loose weight. Well, blame it on the gym membership I pay for but don’t use, our family’s amazing Scandinavian cooking or the fact that I can’t quit anything cold turkey (even over indulging on pizza and cheese curds). I can’t seem to ever make that resolution stick. I try hard for maybe a week or two and then it’s like I’ve been starving for years and I jump right back on the foodie wagon.
So this year, I decided to make myself accountable and write about my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions right here. Where all can see and read and maybe even identify with. Let’s call them “changes” though – because for me, this year is going to be all about change in my business & personal life – working towards the place that I want to be as a photographer, small business owner & overall human being.
1. Stop Working in the Car
I am an insane multitasker – I tip my hat to my mother, who I watched do this my entire life & taught me this awesome curse. I can sit and edit photos, cook dinner, do laundry, answer emails, check Facebook, write to-do lists in my head, check off to-do lists in my head and somehow carry a conversation all at the same time. I think this is where I yell “I am Woman hear me Roar!” Because let’s be honest, we all have it ingrained in our being. Sorry guys, try to keep up ok? The great part: we get a lot done. The not so great part: we have a hard time sitting and doing nothing. (What?!) Yes, that is a thing.
My multitasking has gradually moved from my office to my house to basically everywhere – even my car. For a long time now I have said “I will stop texting while I drive” or “I really shouldn’t answer this call right now” but I have & I do. For some reason I thought all those texting & driving commercials were for teenagers – “But I have a business!” “I need to get things done!” I said. And then it hit me – I do have a life. And I think it’s pretty darn great, so I should make sure I am not endangering it. In 2014, I promise to wait to answer calls, text & reply to emails while driving. I promise to put my eyes on the road to ensure my safety and others safety too. I promise to remind myself that “it can wait”.
2. Saying No
When I first started my photography business I never said “no”. I took every client, every job, every headache. From a business perspective, I did it right. But from an emotional perspective, I was dying a little inside. It took me about two years to realize that not every client was my client. It took several bad experiences, frustrating clients and sobbing break downs for me to re-evaluate where my business was going & who was taking me there. Saying No is hard – especially when all you want to do is help people – but I want my business to survive. In 2014 I am going to take a personal stand. I promise to say No if a client & I don’t mesh well – this is for their benefit as much as mine. If you want 1990s posed photos with artificial lighting – I’m not your gal. If you want a session at noon on a sunny day with no shade, no matter what I suggest – I’m not your gal. If you want a wedding with no style, no emotion and no interaction – I’m definitely not your gal. If you want someone who dances at your reception, become best friends with Uncle Gary and walks away with a happy hangover from your amazing day – then I’m your gal.
I promise to say no to being pushed around. I can’t give discounts to everyone, I can’t work every day and do everything exactly how you want for little to nothing – No, I value myself as a professional photographer with a defined style & you should too. I promise to say No to dropping everything asap, right away, the world is ending. Because it’s not. I value my clients so much & want to go above and beyond for them, but contacting me the day before Christmas for photo gifts and blaming me for not having them in time? No. Not okay. Telling me I am overpriced and you want more money off, but writing a review about how I am the “cheapest photographer in Duluth”? Not okay. 2013 was a year filled with learned lessons, a lot of tears and too much pulled hair. That fine line of making your client happy & trying not to run yourself financially or physically into the ground, I was plunging off of it. So, 2014, get ready for a more confident gal – I promise to say No and stop being stomped on. I am good at what I do & I should be compensated, recognized and talked to accordingly. Other photographers out there – please say this to yourself in the mirror every day. This is something I wish I would have learned sooner.
3. Making time for Me
The concept of “me time” has pretty much been extinct in my life at this point. I moved into a studio with the intention of leaving work at work – but big surprise – I still work at home, on the road & during holidays. This year, for the first time in 2 years, I closed JaneCane Photography for a whole 11 days (!!) at Christmas, thinking I would sleep in, turn off my phone and enjoy family time. Ha. Oh how funny I am. In the last 8 days of being closed I have worked 5 of those days. Christmas Eve included. I blame this on myself, not anyone else though. I have the hardest time just saying “I am sorry I can’t do that right now, I am out of the office – but I will get to it as soon as I get back”. It’s a simple phrase, yet I struggle with ever using it. In 2014 I promise to take actual time off, away from work. This benefits my emotional health, as well as my clients. If I can successfully take time off to revamp and rest, just imagine how inspired I will be upon my return.Believe me, you want a photographer full of life and ideas, not someone who is worn out and tired.
Social Media. Oofta. In small business we pretty much rely on social media to help us along – Facebook, blogs, Instagram, Twitter – all great outlets, but also addicting. If I Facebook a status, then I will probably Instgram a photo about it and twitter the status (all with 30+ hash tags). The bigger the better, right? Sure – until you are so dependent on social media that you find yourself checking your phone every 2 minutes, not because you actually care, but because it has become habit. It’s scary really. The idea of turning my phone off makes me feel queasy, that’s how bad my addiction has become.
So in 2014 I promise to unplug, recharge and take “me time”. Leave my phone at home during date night, make an auto-response email for when I take time away (which I promise myself to do) & take days/weekends off of social media to enjoy life. Because it’s happening folks, right in front of us, and we might just be missing it.
4. Personal Health
There are days working that I realize it is 9pm and all I have had to eat is a Butterfinger and 3 cups from my Kuerig. In my defense, creative minds tend to get in a groove and forget that time even exists – all of a sudden it’s 3am and we’re like “oh, it’s dark outside?”. But my eating habits are literally nonexistent. I have juice boxes and candy treats for my kid sessions at the studio, so that is basically one of my food groups: candy & juice boxes. Im 25. My other food groups: anything delivered to my door, anything sea salt caramel & wine.
Once I passed the binge drinking years of my early 20s, I came to understand why adults have a drink after work. It’s a relaxer, a de-stresser, a friend who listens but doesn’t talk. But is an entire bottle of Moscato normal? Well, somedays I’d say it is a requirement. If you have a job with any sort of stress, I think you can probably identify. In my case, one glass of wine usually knocks me out into a snoring slumber, so imagine what a whole bottle can do. And oh those hangovers that all of a sudden appeared – I swear in college they were hiding, just waiting to knock me on my ass when I actually was a productive human being with responsibilities.
So in 2014 I promise to take better care of my body and health. Actually start using that gym membership I pay for, ordering salad in place of those addicting cheese curds and increasing my water intake by about 300%, which means – start drinking water. No more pop, no more delivery (every night) and making time for exercise. Go on hikes, clear my mind and take back the body that my 2os have destroyed. It’s in there somewhere, I just need to find it. No excuses.
Ever come home after a long day and find yourself mad at your loved ones for no apparent reason? Yelling about the toothpaste being in the wrong spot, the TV too loud at level 3 or how that one sock on the floor can throw you into a tornado of feelings. If you are saying “No that never happens to me” then either I am a really horrible jerk all the time or you are lying to yourself my friend. Regardless, I find myself coming home and taking out my work problems on Drew far too often. It’s usually right in the middle of a giant fight that I realize how insane I am being, but god forbid I actually say that. I want to win! I want to be right! (And I am so wrong and so stupid) So in 2014 I promise to be good to my loved ones, no matter how stressed I may be. They are not the problem, they are what makes life so much more enjoyable. Here I am saying it “I am sorry Drew. You are right, I am wrong” (!!!)
There are so many things I want to work on, but never make the time to do. So I am going to list them. All of them. Feel free to borrow some for yourself & work hard to be happier, healthier and an overall better self. How can you make your business & personal life better this year? Ready, Set, Go.
Slow down. Sleep in. Enjoy conversations. Visit grandparents, family, friends. Take time to listen, not just talk. Eat breakfast. Get outside. Run. Walk. Hike. Bike. Take the stairs. Wake up for a sunrise. Watch the sunset in silence. Take in God’s glory. Smell the fresh air – be grateful for it. Ask questions. Question my faith. Strengthen my faith. Return to my faith. Be still. Be confident. Be brave. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK. Be yourself. Do better. Enjoy alone time. Make time for alone time. Express your creativity. Take more personal photos – capture little memories. Capture daily life. Work on soaking in every day. Be present. Breathe. Dream. Dive in. Stretch. Unplug. Turn off the phone. Listen to the record player. Love, and love fiercely. Tell my loved ones how important they are to me. Hug, a lot. Kiss passionately. Hold hands. Be grateful. Be humble. Be young. Celebrate life. Dance. Drink less pop, more water. Change out cheesy carbs for healthy veggies. Be aware. Be determined. Enjoy food, but in moderation. Make time for bad days and grief, but be stronger from it. Learn from mistakes. Draw something. Make something. Anything. Work on CHANGING for the BETTER of yourself. STOP MAKING EXCUSES.
Happy New Year everyone, cheers to embracing a clean slate and new start!